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Institute Celebrates China Day

By Eddy Ball
March 2008

Wilson, who has known Li for nearly 18 years, was impressed with the emcee's colorful traditional attire.
Wilson, who has known Li for nearly 18 years, was impressed with the emcee's colorful traditional attire. (Photo by Eddy Ball)
Opera dancer Yi Lu warmed up in the NIEHS Cafeteria, stretching and practicing leg lifts for her first number.
Opera dancer Yi Lu warmed up in the NIEHS Cafeteria, stretching and practicing leg lifts for her first number. (Photo by Eddy Ball)
The food was plentiful at the long buffet, shown here before the performances got underway - a calm before the storm of hungry people.
The food was plentiful at the long buffet, shown here before the performances got underway - a calm before the storm of hungry people. (Photo by Eddy Ball)

By the time the China Day celebration on February 12 got underway, the NIEHS Cafeteria was packed with employees, contractors and relatives drawn to the event by the promise of good food and entertainment. All who attended, including NIEHS Acting Director Sam Wilson, M.D., who introduced the event, seemed completely satisfied with the quality of both.

Sponsored by the NIEHS Diversity Council and organized by the Council's China Day Organizing Committee (see text box), China Day celebrated the fifteen-day Chinese New Year holiday. On hand to ring in the Year of the Rat, which began with the New Moon on February 8, were a Chinese opera dancer, two classical vocalists and a master demonstrating the martial/spiritual movement art of Taiji or Tai Chi. There were also posters and booths showcasing the art, crafts, clothing and calligraphy of China - along with plenty of Chinese food and publicity for the upcoming Beijing 2008 Olympics.

China Day began with an introduction of Wilson by Master of Ceremonies and NIEHS Staff Scientist Leping Li, Ph.D. Along with his welcome to employees and guests, Wilson also reassured the audience about the entertainment. "Just in case any of you are on pins and needles about this program, [which] lists 'solo baritone' as the first event," he quipped, "I'm not going to sing."

Li and many in the audience were visibly moved by the quality of the performances and deeply affected by their memories of their homeland and cultural traditions. Li reminisced about the festive middle days of the New Year celebration in China, which he likened to Halloween, "but without the tricks." People gave out treats as families visited one another. Seeing and hearing the performers, Li remarked several times, made him "feel like I'm back in China in the 1980s."

Following the performance, people visited the displays and flocked to the buffet. A few minutes after the performances ended, the line of people waiting to serve themselves already stretched to the entrance of the cafeteria.

NIEHS Microbiologist Julius Thigpen, Ph.D., attended in appreciation of Chinese culture.
NIEHS Microbiologist Julius Thigpen, Ph.D., attended in appreciation of Chinese culture. (Photo by Eddy Ball)

The China Day Organizing Committee

Chair
Yang Cao, Ph.D.

Vice Chairs:
Hui Hu, Linda Yu, Shuang Shuang Dai, Ph.D.

Members:
Ding Ding, Xiaoqing Chang, Jianying Li,
Jianjun Gao, Ph.D., Qun Xu, Ph.D., Yuping Chen, Ph.D.
Xibiao Ye, Ph.D., Zhongli Xu, Ph.D., Hao Wu, Ph.D.
Mingan Yang, Lianming Wang, Jianxin Shen,
Yuan Wang, Ph.D., Honglei Chen, Ph.D., Leping Li, Ph.D.
Zhongjing Wang, Ph.D.



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